Diary Of A Busker Day 374 Thursday May 23rd Winchester High Street (Opposite Vodafone, Time: 2:40-4:35pm).
A lady buying a CD thinks I’ve got a west country accent, which means I have to go through the ‘I used to live in Canada but I left a long time ago to seek my fame and fortune, etc,…’ part of my Hard Luck Story. Anyway, it turns out she’s been to Vancouver – ‘It’s the most beautiful city in the world, even better than Paris’. I say ‘Really?’ She says, ‘Oh yes. Of course, it’s all sort of new. Mind, I don’t like the Alaskans much. Very scary people, they’d, you know, chop your head off. Frightening, they are’. I say again ‘Really?’ and then ‘Wow’, and then give her a (very) brief history of some of my early travels – ‘Well, I never got as far as Vancouver – and the mountains. I got as far as Alberta, but that was a long time ago!’ Indeed – that was then and this is now, anyway, all this was just after Albatross, so, because it secured a CD sale – Song Of The Day! However, regarding this, I have a problem: shortly after awarding Albatross SOTD status, my zither-style arrangement of The Third Man collects a surprising amount of coinage. In fact, so much so that I think it only fair to name it Co-Song Of The Day. But then – STOP PRESS, after The Rain Song, I sell ANOTHER CD, to a man who might want to take a lesson and learn how to play it*, so, because a CD sale instantly confers Song Of The Day status, I now have three Songs Of The Day, which is certainly a change from having no SOTD and no money.
Some posh old woman wants me to play at her party in a week or so and asks how much I charge so I go through the old ‘it depends what day it is, where it is, how long you want me to play for…’ She says ‘We’re about 5 miles away’, so I say ‘Right, I’d have to get a lift there and back, or a cab. What day?’ She says ‘A Sunday – just an informal thing. How much would you charge?’ I say ‘A hundred and fifty?’ – a mistake. I shouldn’t ask it as a question, I then add ‘is that too much?’ I don’t even wait for an answer – I know it’s too much so I say ‘One hundred?’ – another mistake: I’ve already gone down fifty pounds, for goodness sake! It should be a statement, not another question! She dwells on it – ‘Mmm, yes…you say you would have to get a lift?’ ‘Yeah – I don’t drive, but if it’s on the weekend, that would probably be alright’. ‘The cab is £14 to Winchester’, she says. ‘OK, well that’ll be £114’, I say. ‘Yes, do you have a card?’ I say ‘Yeah, here…’ and give her a card.
Then she says ‘Because I have to go – I have to see about my eye, at the hospital…and what other songs do you do? I’ve just heard THIS one’ – Albatross, played for the second time today. I say ‘I do quite a varied selection – Fifties, Sixties…some other things’. ‘And would it appeal to the young?’ By now I’m getting rather frustrated and a bit annoyed, for two reasons. 1. She’s obviously posh and has a big house in the country and could easily afford £150, and 2. I’m not playing while this is going on, thereby losing potential coinage. I repeat her question back at her – ‘Would it appeal to the young?’ She says ‘Yes, because there’ll be some younger people there’. I say ‘Well, I get a lot of young people who give me money – small children, and older ones, who like the guitar style because they probably haven’t heard it before, not here anyway’. ‘OK, will you be here for long?’, she says. I say ‘Yeah, hours probably’. Then she says ‘OK, well should I let you think about it – if you’re interested?’ (Interested? I’m getting exasperated!) I say ‘Yeah, I mean, I am. I’m certainly available’.
She then goes off…an hour later, she’s back. She says ‘Hello, now have you had second thoughts about what I said?’ ‘Second thoughts?’, I say. ‘Yes – have you thought about it?’ ‘Well, I’m free – yeah, for that day. Can you phone me about it?’ (I don’t think she understands I don’t want to go through all the ‘small print’ out here). Then she says it again – ‘Do you appeal to the young?’ I should have said ‘No I bloody don’t!, now get lost you mean, posh Winchester bitch!’ But we never say what we should.
I was hoping to make the 2 hour mark, which would have been long enough, particularly as my left thumb and first finger are getting sore, but 5 minutes short of that, the amp spluttered and died, and pretty sharpish, too. I had some more batteries but I came home instead.
Earnings: £38.33p (Including 2 CDs)
* I never heard from him again.